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Report: First destination after undergraduate degree

Our FIRST DESTINATION REPORT is based on our survey of new graduates of each academic year. We ask their first destination after the undergraduate degree; whether working, continuing education, in military service, volunteering, or seeking. We also ask about their career preparation. The survey stays open for six months after commencement.


Reports by graduation year for university, colleges, and majors

Select a year to view menu to choose total university, a college, or a major report.

All report information is subject to correction and updating.

Highlights of university and college data
with selected multi-year data

All highlight information is subject to correction and updating.

About response percentages and numbers:

  • Total university response is usually well above 50%, but 2019-2020 was not typical due to COVID-19 impact on 2019-2020 survey timeline and response rate.
  • College population numbers vary greatly; university data are influenced by the larger populations of respondents. For example, in 2020-2021, seven colleges graduated undergraduate students, but 30% of respondents were from one college, Engineering.
  • The same applies when viewing college data; majors with larger populations and more respondents have more influence on college data. For example, 2020-2021 grads represented 13 majors in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, but one major, human nutrition, foods, and exercise (HNFE), comprised 40% of the respondents for that college.
  • Major data are in the academic year reports, above.

TOTAL UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGES, THREE YEARS
SURVEY REPONSE

Response rates 2020-2021
%
2020-2021
N
2019-2020
%
2019-2020
N
2018-2019
%
2018-2019
N
Total university 64% 4737 31% 2113 55% 3789
College of Agriculture & Life Sciences 59% 445 21% 154 45% 404
College of Architecture & Urban Studies 63% 274 28% 112 48% 216
College of Business 69% 921 53% 611 63% 769
College of Engineering 70% 1435 30% 562 62% 1155
College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences 60% 794 23% 267 49% 583
College of Natural Resources & Environment 60% 178 28% 78 63% 186
College of Science 59% 690 28% 329 50% 476

TOTAL UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGES, SINGLE YEAR 2020-2021
RESPONSE BAR GRAPH

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TOTAL UNIVERSITY, THREE YEARS
FIRST DESTINATION OF RESPONDENTS

First destination 2020-2021

2019-2020

2018-2019

Response % 64% 31% 55%
Response N 4737 2113 3789
Working % 50% 64% 60%
Working N 2349
1352 2261
Continuing education % 19% 16% 17%
Continuing education N 919 343 633
Military % 3% 2% 3%
Military N 147 45 99
Volunteering % 1% 1% 1%
Volunteering N 25 16 33
Seeking work % 21% 13% 16%
Seeking work N 982 282 617
Seeking continuing education % 6% 3% 3%
Seeking continuing education N 293 64 127
Not seeking % 0% 1% 1%
Not seeking N 22 11 19

What about your major? Major and college data are in the academic year reports, above.

Grads who reported seeking (work or continuing education) could update their responses any time until the survey closed.

TOTAL UNIVERSITY, SINGLE YEAR 2020-2021
FIRST DESTINATION BAR GRAPH

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About first destination variance by colleges

  • Colleges and majors have varied patterns in first destinations of respondents. 
  • Three colleges, Agriculture and Life Sciences, Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, and Science, typically have a quarter to a third of respondents indicate continuing education as a first destination after the bachelor's degree.
  • As a college, Business typically has the lowest percentage of continuing education, as compared to other colleges. However, a major within that college, accounting, typically has high levels of continuing education (25-30% in the last three years).
  • Major and college data are in the academic year reports, above.

COLLEGES, SINGLE YEAR 2020-2021
FIRST DESTINATION BAR GRAPH

On the graph:

  • Employed includes working (50% total univ.), U.S. military (3% total univ.), volunteering (1% total univ.)
  • Continuing education is 19% total univ.
  • Seeking includes seeking employement (21% total univ.) seeking continuing education (6% total univ.), and not seeking (0% total univ.).
  • Percentages do not always sum to 100 due to rounding.

About continuing education details

  • Respondents who have been admitted to continuing education as a first destination after the undergraduate degree are asked to indicate the degree type and program of study they are pursuing, and the institution they will attend. 
  • Respondents who wish to continue education, but have not yet been admitted, should indicate on the survey they are seeking continued education. Those respondents can update their survey later if/when they are admitted.
Three years: responses about continuing education  2020-2021  2019-2020 2018-2019
% respondents seeking continuing education 6% 3% 3%
% respondents admitted to continuing education 19% 16% 17%
N continuing education 919 343 633
Admitted: degree type master's degree 13% 11% 11%
Admitted: degree type doctoral degree 4% 4% 4%
Admitted: other degree types, or non-degree, or did not provide degree type 1% 1% 2%

BY COLLEGE: CONTINUING EDUCATION PERCENTAGES AND DEGREE TYPES

BY UNDERGRAD MAJOR: LIST OF GRADUATE DEGREES AND INSTITUTIONS

 

You can also view continuing education highlights for 2017-2018 grads and 2018-2019 grads.

2020-2021 GRADS
BY UNDERGRAD MAJOR: EMPLOYERS, JOB TITLES, AND LOCATIONS

 


2020-2021 GRADS
MOST-REPORTED EMPLOYERS BY RESPONDENTS

 


About salary and bonus data

  • Employed graduates (working and military) are asked to report salary and bonus.
  • We report median (the value in the middle) and not mean (the average) because the median is more reliable. Averages are skewed by outliers. Medians provide a more realistic picture. Particularly with self-reported data, errors and inaccuracies occur, making averages more subject to being skewed.
  • Medians are shown when four or more individuals reported salary or bonus.
  • 25th and 75th percentiles are shown when 12 or more individuals reported salary or bonus.
  • View salary table with data for university, each college, and each major.
  • View bonus table with data for university, each college, and each major.
  • Salary and bonus data for each college and major are also in the academic year reports.

TOTAL UNIVERSITY, THREE YEARS
SALARY AND BONUS DATA HIGHLIGHTS

  2020-2021  2019-2020  2018-2019
% of employed who did not report salary 29% 24% 17%
% of employed who reported salary 71% 76% 83%
N who reported salary 1768 1064 1968
Salary median $63,000 $64,000 $61,800
% of employed who received a bonus 23% 30% 31%
N who received a bonus 564 418 741
Bonus median $5,000 $5,000 $5,000

TOTAL UNIVERSITY, THREE YEARS
HOW EMPLOYED GRADS FOUND JOB

Grads were asked: 
Regarding the job you accepted: Which best describes the way you first made contact with this employer?
Select one response.

Please note this question is not asking about all the job search methods used. 
Data for each major and college is in the academic year reports, above.

First contact with employer whose job grad accepted 2020-2021 2019-2020 2018-2019
Worked / volunteered with employer in the past 12% 10% 10%
Knew or met employer through someone I know / networking 16% 14% 14%
Career fair 22% 26% 26%
Handshake (job posting platform used by Virginia Tech career center for employers to post jobs for VT students) 7% 6% 6%
Employer interviewed in Smith Career Center (On-Campus Interviewing Program) 1% 3% 2%
Went directly to employer's website 10% 9% 9%
Used a job-seeker website other than Handshake 11% 12% 7%
Info posted or messaged from my academic department 4% 2% 2%
Employer spoke at a presentation I attended 2% 2% 1%
Did not answer 14% 15% 21%

 

 

TOTAL UNIVERSITY, THREE YEARS
JOB RELATED TO CAREER GOALS AND MAJOR

Employed grads were asked:
Do you consider your job to be related to your career goals? 

Job related to career goals 2020-2021 2019-2020 2018-2019
Very 62% 60% 60%
Somewhat 23% 24% 18%
Not 3% 3% 2%
Did not answer 12% 13% 19%

Employed grads were asked:
Do you consider your job to be related to your college major?

Job related to college major 2020-2021 2019-2020 2018-2019
Very 61% 56% 58%
Somewhat 21% 26% 18%
Not 6% 5% 5%
Did not answer 12% 13% 19%

To see major and college data, see reports by academic year, above.


TOTAL UNIVERSITY, THREE YEARS
LEARNED JOB SEARCH SKILLS | SOURCES OF LEARNING | USED CAREER CENTER

 

Grads were asked:
Which best describes the extent to which you learned job search skills during college?

Learned job search skills during college: 2020-2021 2019-2020 2018-2019
I learned most that I needed 29% 27% 28%
I learned some, but not all, that I needed 50% 42% 46%
I learned nothing, or very little 9% 10% 8%
Did not answer 11% 20% 18%

 

Grads were asked:
If you learned job search skills, where did you learn them? Check all that apply.

SOURCES OF LEARNING JOB SEARCH SKILLS 2020-2021 2019-2020 2018-2019
Career and Professional Development; advising, presentations, website, etc. 37% 34% 34%
Career Planning Guide; online booklet created by CPD. 9% 12% 13%
Other books, magazines, print materials. 7% 6% 7%
Websites external to Virginia Tech. 39% 33% 36%
Academic-credit course in my major or college. 33% 28% 29%
Not-for-credit program in my major or college. 5% 5% 4%
Advisors, staff, professors in my major or college. 43% 38% 39%
Other VT advisors, staff, professors, NOT in my major or college. 12% 12% 11%
Employers, mentors at jobs, internships. 48% 47% 48%
Parents, adult relatives, family friends. 56% 47% 52%
Peers. 47% 44% 46%
Did not answer 16% 20% 16%

 

Grads were asked:
As you recall: During college, did you use any resources provided by the Virginia Tech career center? (could include advising, workshops, website, Handshake, employment interviews, etc.)

Used career center during college: 2020-2021 2019-2020 2018-2019
Never 18% 13% 16%
Don't recall or unsure 12% 8% 11%
Yes, but not often 50% 46% 48%
Yes, often 10% 12% 8%
Did not answer 10% 20% 16%

To see major and college data, see reports by academic year, above.


TOTAL UNIVERSITY, THREE YEARS
EXPERIENCE DURING COLLEGE

Did you have any type of career-related experience during college? 2020-2021 2019-2020 2018-2019
Yes 76% 71% 75%
No 14% 7% 10%
Did not answer 10% 22% 16%
Grads who wished they had gotten more experience during college (from REGRETS below)
36% 23% 31%
What types of experience did you have? Check all that apply. 2020-2021 2019-2020 2018-2019
Volunteer work 23% 18% 22%
Part-time job 30% 24% 27%
Summer job 29% 25% 29%
Unpaid internship 14% 11% 14%
Paid internship 53% 58% 56%
Co-op 5% 5% 5%
Undergraduate research 21% 19% 20%
Field study 10% 6% 9%
Did not answer 23% 28% 24%
Number of PAID internships during college 2020-2021 2019-2020 2018-2019
One 23% 25% 24%
Two 15% 20% 18%
Three 7% 7% 7%
Four or more 3% 3% 2%
Not applicable or did not answer 53% 45% 48%
Number of UNPAID internships during college 2020-2021 2019-2020 2018-2018
One 13% 11% 13%
Two 3% 3% 3%
Three 1% 1% 1%
Four or more 0% 0% 0%
Not applicable or did not answer 83% 86% 83%

To see major and college data, see reports by academic year, above.


TOTAL UNIVERSITY, THREE YEARS
REGRETS ABOUT CAREER PREPARATION DURING COLLEGE

Graduates were asked:
If you could start over in college, is there anything you would do differently related to career planning?

If you could start over in college, is there anything you would do differently related to career planning? 2020-2021 2019-2020 2018-2019
No. Mostly I did what I needed to achieve my goals. 38% 28% 38%
Yes, I would do something differently. 52% 35% 46%
Did not answer. 10% 26% 16%

 

Graduates were asked:
If yes (to above) check all that apply, to "I wish I had..."

I wish I had: (check all that apply) (top regrets in bold) 2020-2021 2019-2020 2018-2019
Learned more, or earlier, about career options. 37% 26% 33%
Learned more, or earlier, about graduate or professional school. 21% 14% 18%
Asked advisors, staff, professors for advice, earlier, or more often. 30% 20% 27%
Gotten more experience related to my major or career goals. 36% 23% 31%
Started my job search earlier. 28% 17% 23%
Used more or different job search resources. 17% 12% 14%
(Did not check any regrets) 43% 62% 48%

To see major and college data, see reports by academic year, above.